Creamy Basil & Calabrian Chili Cavatelli

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cavatelli pasta tossed in a creamy basil & calabrian chili tomato sauce

servings: 4-6


  • 1 lb cavatelli pasta
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp calabrian chili peppers (crushed in oil)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Prep all of your ingredients.
  2. Drop the cavatelli and cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a 12” stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the shallots. Cook for about 2 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for another minute or so until caramelized and tender, stirring often. Season with a good pinch of salt.
  4. Stir in the fennel seeds, tomato paste, and calabrian chili peppers and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the cream. Retrieve a ½ cup (plus a little extra on the side if needed) of starchy pasta water and add it to the sauce. Stir well to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for a minute or so to thicken.
  5. Stir in the oregano and basil. Season with a pinch of salt. Drain the pasta, add it straight to the sauce, and stir to combine. Gradually add in the parmesan cheese, stirring until it melts and the sauce clings to the pasta. (If the sauce is too loose, raise the heat to medium and continue to stir until it thickens. If it’s too thick, add in a little more pasta water.)
  6. Plate the pasta with freshly cracked black pepper over top. Optionally, garnish with basil leaves and more parmesan.